On Computational Hygiene

Recently my computer, Anton*, has been misbehaving. Programs have been randomly crashing, his fan has been making disturbingly organic groaning noises, and every so often he has been randomly shutting down completely and refusing to reactivate unless physically unplugged, then plugged back in again. Not being a fan of hardware (no pun intended), my solutions to this obvious overheating problem have included:

  • Doing the unplugging-plugging thing, repeatedly
  • Taking the case off
  • Vacuuming the interior
  • Yelling at it

But today the shutdowns were coming too thick and fast for any of this to be helpful. So instead I unscrewed the fan off the top of the heatsink and discovered a solid layer of dust between it and the cooling fins, completely blocking the flow of air. Having cleaned this off, the CPU temperature promptly dropped by nearly 20 degrees C.

So let this be a lesson: keep your computer clean, and it will reward you with a long and healthy life. (Bonus lesson: yelling doesn't solve anything.)

* Because I have rather a lot of computers and need a quick way to tell them apart, all my computers have names. In particular, they all have names of people I had a crush on at the time. In order, these have been: Alanis (as in Morissette), Justin (as in Timberlake), Troy (non-celebrity from Trinidad), Dean (non-celebrity from London), and Anton (another Trini). Just your bit of me-trivia for today. As if that wasn't what this entire blog was, anyway.